Society

Active citizenship, a social contract, Islam and democracy in Egypt

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The Arab Spring that swept across North Africa in 2011 brought the promise of democracy within reach of millions of Egyptians. Nuraan Davids The Conversation But seven years later this promise hasn’t been fulfilled. That fledgling democracy is now akin to a military dictatorship, where any form of protest or assertion of autonomous thought is constrained. Since the heady days of the Arab Spring, Egypt has been riddled by political protests, labour strikes, and unprecedented violence in its Sinai Peninsula. ... Read More »

3 reasons why the US is vulnerable to big disasters

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During the 2017 disaster season, three severe hurricanes devastated large parts of the U.S. Morten Wendelbo The Conversation The quick succession of major disasters made it obvious that such large-scale emergencies can be a strain, even in one of the world’s richest countries. As a complex emergency researcher, I investigate why some countries can better withstand and respond to disasters. The factors are many and diverse, but three major ones stand out because they are within the grasp of the ... Read More »

What happens when you give up plastic, and is it a lifestyle option for the lucky few?

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Reducing plastics when shopping for food, toiletries and travel products should be easy – so why is it so difficult? Stephanie Convery The Guardian A few months ago, my partner and I went snorkelling off the coast of Indonesia. We dove off tiny deserted islands and swam in the deep with giant manta rays, but what I remember most vividly about that trip was not the stunning coral or dazzling array of colourful, curious fish; it was the sheer amount ... Read More »

HMRC data disaster sees pensions CUT BY HALF – are YOU affected?

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PAYMENTS will be cut by HALF for some pensioners as the HMRC tries to correct a catalogue of catastrophically expensive cock-ups and blunders which went unseen and unchecked for decades. Joe Gamp Express Although they have done NOTHING wrong some pensioners will see £10,000 wiped from their nest-egg. The string of payment errors made by HMRC dating back over four decades will hit tens of thousands of British pensioners. The Inland Revenue cock-ups came to light during a ‘data clean-up’ ... Read More »

ACT excluding asylum seekers from accessing essential services: report

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A new report finds laws and policies in the ACT are excluding asylum seekers and refugees from accessing essential services. Han Nguyen The Canberra Times The report, State of Refuge, to be published Monday by the Liberty Victoria’s Rights Advocacy Project, analysed how state and territory governments were faring in attempts to fill gaps left by the Commonwealth. The report looks into three service areas: education, health, and housing. One of the report’s authors, Julia Wallace, said the report found the ACT was ... Read More »

Australia ends direct aid to Palestinian Authority

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Australia has ceased providing direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop saying the donations could increase the self-governing body’s capacity to pay Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence. ABC Ms Bishop said funding was cut to the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program after writing to the Palestinian Authority in late May seeking assurance that Australian funding was not going to Palestinian criminals. Australia sends about $10 million in ... Read More »

I found slaves in our supply chain

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Business support for new regulations? Unheard of. But that’s exactly what business leaders just did. Andrew Forrest * The Sydney Morning Herald We unanimously supported the introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill to the Parliament last week. All of us in business face the risk of modern slavery in our supply chains – I found it in my own – and it is now widely accepted that inaction, and hiding our head in the sand, are no longer options. Modern ... Read More »

EU opens new legal case against Poland over Supreme Court changes

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission opened a fresh legal case against Poland on Monday over changes to the Supreme Court that it fears will further undermine judicial independence in the largest ex-communist member of the bloc. Reuters Staff The European Union’s executive arm gave Poland a month to respond, which means it will not stop changes entering into force on Tuesday under which one-third of Supreme Court judges will retire unless granted an extension by President Andrzej Duda, an ... Read More »

Mexico election: López Obrador wins presidency as rivals concede

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Left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador is heading for a clear victory in Mexico’s presidential election. BBC Electoral officials said a quick count after Sunday’s poll indicated the former mayor of Mexico City had won with about 53% of the vote – more than double that of his nearest challenger. Exit polls also put Mr López Obrador, known by his initials Amlo, well ahead. His closest rivals have both admitted defeat and congratulated Mr López Obrador on his victory. Ruling ... Read More »

President Buhari, Please Stop the Muslim Slaughter of Nigerian Christians

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Muslim herdsmen are massacring their Christian neighbors, and the Nigerian government refuses to act. Babies are being hacked to death. Michael Brown Stream Children kidnapped. Women raped and savaged. Young and old burned alive. Houses destroyed, livestock plundered. Muslim herdsmen are massacring their Christian neighbors while the Nigerian media misreports and the Nigerian government refuses to act. Some even claim the government is complicit in these attacks. President Buhari, as the watching, worldwide community, we appeal to you to act ... Read More »

Photos From the Nationwide “Families Belong Together” Marches

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Across the country yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in small towns and big cities to march and voice their opposition to the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Alan Taylor The Atlantic Demonstrators in more than 700 locations called for the swift reunification of immigrant families separated by border agencies, and an end to the policies that cause so many separations. Collected here, photos from Indianapolis, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., ... Read More »

A Vietnam “Solution” to the Afghanistan War?

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The January 1973 agreement between North Vietnam and the United States can be applied to the present, stalemated situation in Afghanistan. John Mueller The National Interest Ιt was in 2010 that United States President Barack Obama  told an interviewer that he could easily imagine a situation in which “we ended up staying in Afghanistan for another five years, another eight years, another ten years. And we would do it not with clear intentions but rather just out of an inertia.” Last year, ... Read More »

If you can only do one thing for your children, it should be shared reading

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Reading to children is beneficial in many ways. Books offer a unique opportunity for children to become familiar with new vocabularies; the type of words not often used in day-to-day conversation. Authors: The Conversation Books also provide a context for developing knowledge of abstract ideas for children. When an adult reads a book to a child, they often label pictures, talk about activities in the book, solve problems together and teach them new words and concepts. Reading to very young ... Read More »

First the presidency, now the judiciary

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Concern is mounting in the US and throughout the industrialised world that hard-won liberties and rights would be eroded were President Donald Trump to capitalise on the sudden opportunity he has been handed to cement a conservative majority in the… Editorial The Sydney Morning Herald Potential targets of emboldened conservatives include women’s access to abortion, people’s right to seek asylum, some of the queer community’s manifold anti-discrimination rights, protections for minorities, and the… The retirement of… First the presidency… Read More »

Sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination ‘rife’ among Australian academics

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Sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination pervade parts of Australian universities, according to survey results released today by the Australian Women’s History Network. Authors: The Conversation Of the 159 academics who completed our voluntary survey, from more than two dozen universities around Australia, 48.7% reported sexual abuse or harassment in the workplace. Sexual or gender-based discrimination were even more common, reported by 66.2% of respondents. Women made up 90.6% of the responses (of these, 50% reported abuse or harassment and… Sexual ... Read More »

Hong Kong pro-democracy protests draw low turnout, 21 years after British handover to China

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Hong Kong’s annual pro-democracy protest saw one of the lowest turnouts in history, as thousands braved sweltering heat to protest against Beijing’s tightening grip over the city on the 21st anniversary of its return to Chinese rule. ABC Organisers said 50,000 protested, in one of their lowest estimates since the annual march started in 2003. Police said 9,800 attended at the peak — the lowest figure on their record. Hong Kong’s opposition has lost much steam in the past year, ... Read More »